So it’s that time of the year that we all try to reinvent ourselves. Often we make, grand, sweeping resolutions, that we feel will make our lives so much better. We pledge to avoid sugar, go to the gym more often, and to be nicer. This is great, as it starts your year off with optimism. Then, after the honeymoon period and cold dreary February rolls in, you’re are back to your much-needed sweet tooth, avoid going to the gym because it’s cold outside, and your anger management is less than perfect. It is demoralizing and makes you feel like a failure.
Believe it or not, when you put so much pressure on yourself it sets you up for failure. Yes it is noble to right all the wrongs in your life, and become the person you have always wanted to be, but it’s unrealistic to try to change your lifetime in transition of a year.
So how can you start to become the person you want to become? The secret is to set goal you can actually stick with. Rather than making the grand resolution, make smaller goals that can add up to that big change that you desire. Here are some starting points that can get you off to a great start for 2014. Trust me, if you stick with these, you may discover a new, happier, and healthier you.
Now I’m a Dietitian by profession, so of course I’m going to make this first recommendation for change; eat dark leafy greens at least once a day. I know some people have the opinion of Ron Swanson (from Parks and Rec) that if it’s green it’s rabbit food, but there are benefits to the leafy stuff. Greens are amazing! They are energizing, boost your immunity, and lower your risk of disease. Why wouldn’t you want to incorporate them daily? To make it simple, have a salad before dinner everyday. Choose at least one full cup of kale, arugula, or spinach to create your salad. If you’re feeling adventurous, maybe slip these nutritious delights in your eggs for breakfast, or in your sandwich at lunch.
Next suggestion is to move in the ways that make your body feel good. Yoga is a big part of our day here at the Inner Door Center, and the effect it has on the body, and mind, is one of relaxation and enlightenment. I’m not saying that yoga is the movement of choice for you, but that finding the movement that creates that effect for you will make sticking with it easier. Often, people chose exercise that is going to create the biggest benefit in the shortest amount of time, without really enjoying it. Think about it, if you absolutely loved your workout, looked forward to it, and had the right mentality about it, wouldn’t you be more likely to do it? If “pumping iron”, or “feeling the burn” isn’t for you try hiking, rollerblading, or pole dancing classes have become popular lately. Even taking a walk around the block, and getting outside can be rewarding not only for your body, but your mind as well. I know with the uncertainty of the winter weather in Michigan, it is not as easy to get outside and move, try videos for the types of movement that you enjoy. There are videos for kickboxing, yoga, and even Tai Chi.
Hear me out before you turn your head at this next suggestion. Have you ever tried green tea? I know the stuff can taste like warm, liquefied grass, but it has amazing benefits for your body and mind. Plus, companies are coming out with a lot of varieties of green tea infused with fruit flavors that are so delicious, you couldn’t tell it’s green tea! Drinking 1-2 cups a day provides your body with L-theanine, which has shown to have the ability to reduce mental and physical stress, improve cognition, and boost mood and cognitive performance is a way that is similar to caffeine. Green tea also contains the highest amount of antioxidants than any other tea, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects on the body. So drink up!
Do you like reading? If you do you, this next suggestion will be easy. If you don’t, maybe after hearing the benefits, you might want to start. A recent study discovered that reading a book for as little as 6 minutes a day, can help reduce stress by as much as 68%! Reading allows your brain a break from the external stimulation that you are bombarded with all day. It also allows for you to unplug, slow down, and jumpstart your imagination. Believe or not, this is good for your health, your brain, and your overall happiness. Try reading a physical book, which means no e-readers, for 10-15 minutes each day. Within no time you’ll start to your stress reduced, and you might even become more productive and creative at work.
Finally, and I love this one, GIVE MORE HUGS! Physical affection is a powerful thing. It has amazing benefits for your health and happiness. Affection can lower blood pressure, stress, and cortisol levels. It supports your immune system, and prevents depression and anxiety. It boosts oxytocin and serotonin levels, giving you a happier, calm, and secure feeling. Basically it’s free therapy, so get hugging!
If you would like to talk to someone about other ways to improve your life, contact the Inner Door Center at 248-336-2868 for more information on our treatment programs or visit www.innerdoorcenter.com